At the end of the beating at a stunned Staples Center, the face of Doc Rivers, the charismatic coach of the Clippers, was a poem of disappointment: with 76 points from reserve players, the Lakers had denigrated the Clippers millionaires by 116-103. A few Lakers without Kobe Bryant, black Armani on the bench (“this lesion is always in the back of my mind…”) and with Pau Gasol in their first ‘double double’ of the League (15 points and 13 rebounds in action 24:29) coils to the arrogant Clippers for an unthinkable last quarter: 41-24 for the Lakers who only used alternate players in that amazing final quarter and enjoyed the best scorer provision in the career of the southpaw ala- escort Xavier Henry (former Kansas and New Orleans): 22 points more (six rebounds), with 3/4 in triple, in 26:24 in track.
In that last quarter, without even Gasol in game, the Lakers, who lost 55-57 at halftime and by 75-79 at the end of the third quarter, escaped with an 18-4 partial between 40 and 45 minutes. Henry surprised with 12 points in 15 minutes. Jordan Hill, ‘five’ rather than Gasol contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, including a slam-dunk in tableraze of fortune. The Lakers swept in rebounds (52-40 and 18-10 in offensive) to a few Clippers obsessed with the game of ‘pick & roll’ and which, astonished, looked navels. Did not fall all the great Chateaux ‘clippers’ Blake Griffin (19 points and seven rebounds, in direct junction with Gasol), nor DeAndre Jordan: 17 points, 11 rebounds. Chris Paul contributed 15 points and 11 assists. Redick, 17 goals.
But nothing helped before the Gale of emotion and shots unleashed in the last quarter by the faster and more inspired Quintet book ‘laker’: Jordan Farmar (16 points), Henry, Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks (13 points, 3/6 in triple) and Jordan Hill. The Lakers matched with 48.3% of their triples (14/29), by 38.1% (8/21) of the stick Clippers, to whom nothing, or Rivers had prepared for this: in 2012-13, with Kobe, Howard and company in the game, the Clippers had been swept and humiliated the Lakers: 4-0. This opening night at Staples, the Lakers seven players scored in double digits. The first part also lived a battle of titans that pitted Gasol (of ‘five’ pure) face to face with Griffin. Before the break, each of them had managed 13 points.
And wine on the part of Mike D’Antoni this shot by elevation to the missing Dwight Howard, new ‘rocket’: “you can feel the energy and chemistry on this team… all are good guys, ‘trainable’ (‘coachable’) are all and they do just enough to win, all so different from the last season…”, pointed out in booths the happy Mike D’Antoni, the surprising Lakers to Head Coach-time immediately took the plane to San Francisco: today, already on the second day, await them the Golden State Warriors on the other side of the Bay in Oakland.
Before, the big favorites of the East had made his position on the scene. In Indianapolis, the Pacers realized Orlando Magic: 97-87, after the 40-44 for the Magic in the rest. The third quarter 29-20 opened track for the Pacers, who had 24 points from Paul George and Lance Stephenson 19. Andy Nicholson (18) was the leading scorer of the Magic, where the ‘rookie’ Victor Oladipo base tied to 12 points with the veteran incumbent ‘playmaker’ Jameer Nelson. Indiana dominated in rebounds (44-39), and in general, did just enough to win.
Between the Pacers-Magic and the Lakers-Clippers, Miami lived next to ‘their’ Heat the third inaugural night of the League with the celebration of a title. Once delivered the rings to the (bi) champions for 2012-13, the Heat proceeded to stamp the first defeat of season 2013-14 on the shiny skin of the Chicago Bulls: 107-95. The Bulls arrived with a brilliant 8-0 in preseason. “Or they us like us… not us to them”, had warned LeBron ‘ King ‘ James, closed accounts with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Rest (54-33), Miami moved between motivation and defense to stop on a Derrick Rose reduced to a total of 12 points and 4/15 in shots. “We had much to do with those numbers” said the ‘heat’ Ray Allen: eleven points, as well as Norris Cole. Yet it was 78-58 at the end of the third quarter, but Erik Spoelstra rotation and the slowing down of the big stars of the Heat helped the Bulls get closer to 95-87, to 2:46 finish, thanks to Carlos Boozer, a ‘Tom-Tom’ tireless hammer: 31 points, seven rebounds. There sticking Dwyane Wade: 13 points, four rebounds. Jimmy Butler was as much for the Bulls 20, but LeBron had a lot of help: after James, six players from the Heat scored 11 or more points, with 16 for Bosh and 14 for Battier.